By Larry John
As many of my friends know, I have always enjoyed playing Rock and Roll. I began playing in a Dixieland Band in the 3rd grade, and then at age 16 I was smitten by Rock and Roll. The band business has been one of my passions most of my life. I love to play. I bet I have played for over 4000 dances and parties in my life. I love playing and I enjoy watching the people who come to these dances. I have had plenty of time to study all the various personalities. It is from this “band” and “dance” experience that I write this metaphor, analogy, or mythology (you pick) for LIFE. Let’s say that the DANCE represents LIFE and I will draw some comparisons.
The Wallflower: The Wallflower is a person who you will see at every dance. I am not exactly sure why they come to the DANCE, because they never dance. They don’t even ask someone to dance. They are just there “hugging” the wall, “watching” everyone dance, listening to the band, and talking with their friends… but they don’t dance. I am not saying they don’t have fun, but they don’t dance. They are just there for a good time. Now, let me make myself “perfectly” clear on this. I don’t see anything wrong with being a Wallflower (or any of the other personalities I will discuss), I just think that if you are going to go to the DANCE, it might be fun to dance. I think that many times these Wallflowers are afraid to dance. They are afraid that they might look stupid. They are afraid that someone might say NO if they were to ask them to dance. They are afraid they won’t know the dance steps (or whatever they call them now) and people might laugh at them. So, as a result they choose not to participate in the DANCE. It is safer and less risky to not even try to dance. The “wall” is the safest place to be. That way you can be AT the dance, but not IN the dance.
The Dumb Ones: These are the people at the dance who dance with steps “they” think are cool, but are bad, stupid, and dumb dancers. They don’t even listen to the music. They dance with the same stupid steps no matter what the beat. They have very little rhythm, if any, but they don’t care. They know they are supposed to dance and they just dance. They don’t seem to like or dislike the dance; they are just there dancing as if dancing were the only reason to come to the dance. They dance almost every dance and they don’t care if they even dance with someone. They throw their arms up, and stamp their feet, and they really believe they are dancing. Most other people at the dance laugh, point their fingers, and talk about these dancers, but all this activity goes right over their heads. The dance is just another one of those activities that you HAVE to do because you have to. They seem to be having a good time, however, because they don’t see dancing as an art. They see the dance as just another place to be.
The Mimic: At every dance there are people I call mimics. They are there to look and dance like everyone else. They go out on the dance floor, but instead of “moving with the music” they watch how everyone else is dancing and they mimic their movements. If there is a popular dance that everyone is doing, instead of learning it, they mimic it by watching others and then try to do “exactly” what they are doing. There is no originality; they just do what everyone else seems to be doing. I think they do this because they are afraid that if they were to do something different than the crowd or their group of friends, they would look stupid and perhaps might even be laughed at. They don’t stand out because to do so might prove to be risky.
The Hipster: Also at the Dance are the people who have watched way too much “American Bandstand” “Soul Train” or MTV. They are the people who love to be watched. They want to do the dance right, and do it famously. They have all the dance steps down pat. They have ALL THE MOVES and they are proud to show them off. No matter what’s the latest dance craze; they know it before anyone else. They are good dancers, but take don’t take much pride in their dancing ability as much as they do the fact that they KNOW the dances and expect that everyone should be like them. These are the hippest and coolest people at the dance, at least in their minds. They are also the people at the dance that not only know how to dance, but they also know how to dress. They dress as if that it is a prerequisite to know what to wear in order to do the dances correctly. They stand out because they want to. They stand out because they need to. They stand out because they are hip, and heaven knows that we all want to be hip. Image is everything. They have the philosophy that if you can’t look right and do the dance right, you might as well not dance at all. It is because of their influence that perhaps there are so many “Wallflowers” and “ Mimics.”
The Sovereign: These are the people at the dance who “Let the Music Move Them.” There are no pre-planned steps. They just listen to the music and the more they get into the music, the more they dance. Their dance is fun to watch. No one at the dance dances better. Their dance is the dance the musicians crave to watch. Their dance is the dance all the dancers want to do. They can dance with a partner or by themselves. It doesn’t matter. They love the music and they love to dance. It is the MUSIC that makes them move. They are not dancing to be dancing; they are in the NOW of the tempo, the sound, the dynamics of the music, the words, the feel, and the moment. Their heart pounds precisely with the beat of the bass guitar and bass drum. They are ONE with the music. They are the music. They know the dance perfectly because the music and the dance are the same thing. The dance is not a place. The dance is not an event. The dance is not a stage. They are in the dance and the dance is in them. All they needed to do the dance perfectly was to listen to the music. Again, it is not the dance, the friends, the dress, the steps, or the fame that moves them, it is the MUSIC. They listen. They move. They love every moment whether the music is fast, slow, loud, or soft. They are not trying to be “cool,” yet everyone respects them as the “coolest” people at the dance. They give their entire honor to the music. They want no honor, credit, or admiration for themselves. ALL glory to the music!
The wonderful thing about LIFE, or the DANCE, is that we can choose what we are going to do, and who we are going to be at the dance. We have the power to choose to be ruled by our fears, the desire for approval and acceptance, or to be moved by the MUSIC. No one can take that freedom of choice and agency from us. Obviously, I believe that those who come to the dance and “feel” the beat and dynamics of the music are having a better time at the dance. The SOVEREIGN dancer who receives personal “self worth” from their inner “soul worth” just dances better. You will know the sovereign dancers when you meet them. They seem to laugh more at the dance. They seem to dance more at the dance. They seldom miss one dance because they love to dance. The dancer loves the music because it is the music that moves the dancer to dance. But even more than that… the MUSIC loves the DANCER, because it is through the Dancer (you) that the Music (life) is able to find its meaning and purpose. And the more you dance, the better the music gets. Let the music move you. Think about it.
Think about it.